April 20

 

Read II Samuel 23 -- 24

 

In Today's Reading:

 

The last words of David; David's last recorded sin; David builds an altar; his sacrifice; the three-day plague

 

David never lost a battle in his 40-year reign. Although he had often prayed for the Lord's direction during his early years of conquest, his desire at this time to take a census of his army was obviously not based on any threat by invaders and it resulted in a three-day plague which killed 70,000 people. When we ignore the Word of God, Satan is quick to suggest wrong thoughts, as he did with David. And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked (incited) David to number (take a census in) Israel (I Chronicles 21:1). The Chronicles passage further explains the incident in II Samuel. From the standpoint of the absolute sovereignty of God over everything, including Satan, we read: And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and He moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah. . . . And David's heart smote him after that he had numbered the people. And David said to the LORD, I have sinned greatly in what I have done: and now, I beseech You, O LORD, take away the iniquity of your servant; for I have done very foolishly. . . . So the LORD was entreated for the land, and the plague was stayed (ceased) from Israel (II Samuel 24:1,10,25).

 

It would be inconceivable for God to actually force David to commit this sin and then, before the census was completed, to destroy 70,000 people because of it (see 24:15; I Chronicles 27:24). The Holy Spirit directed the writing of II Samuel to let us see that everyone is under the sovereign will of God but that He allows us to stubbornly go our own way, for He will not violate our free will.

 

There is no record that taking a census was prohibited. But the Law did state: When you take the sum of the children of Israel after their number, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul (himself) to the LORD . . . that there be no plague among them. . . . This they shall give, every one that passes among them that are numbered, half a shekel . . . shall be the offering of the LORD (Exodus 30:12-13).

 

Because of this violation, a plague spread over the land. David's tragic experience is a reminder of how important it is that we pray one for another that the God of peace . . . Make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ (Hebrews 13:20-21; compare Titus 3:8).

 

Word Studies:

 

23:10 clave = clung; spoil = plunder, loot; 23:13 chief = foremost, captains; 23:14 hold = stronghold; 24:14 a great strait = great distress; 24:16 stay = do not move.

 

Christ Revealed:

 

Through the silver which David used to purchase the threshing floor upon which he built an altar to the Lord (II Samuel 24:24-25). Silver symbolizes Christ's redemption offered for all. And (Judas) said to them, What will you give me, and I will deliver Him to you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver (Matthew 26:15).

 

Prayer Needs:

 

Pray for The International Shortwave Radio Broadcast in honor of Linda Kennon · BP Staff: Barbara Jean Jackson · Government Officials: Sen. Pat Roberts (KS) and Justice John Paul Stevens · Country: Taiwan (22 million) in eastern Asia · Major languages: Mandarin Chinese and Taiwanese · Limited religious freedom · 93% Chinese religions; 4% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord to make you willing to go wherever He wants to send you (Isaiah 6:8).

 

Optional Reading: Acts 21

 

Memory Verse for the Week: I Thessalonians 5:17